Plot Against America, The

Philip Roth
When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh defeated Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election, fear invaded every Jewish household in America. Not only had Lindbergh, in a nationwide radio address, publicly blamed the Jews for selfishly pushing America toward a pointless war with Nazi Germany, but upon taking office as the thirty-third president of the United States, he negotiated a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, whose conquest of Europe and virulent anti-Semitic policies he appeared to accept without difficulty. What then followed in America is the historical setting for this startling new book by Pulitzer Prize–winner Philip Roth, who recounts what it was like for his Newark family — and for a million such families all over the country — during the menacing years of the Lindbergh presidency, when American citizens who happened to be Jews had every reason to expect the worst.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2020-04-05

This book reminded me why I love stories about America and the World Wars so much. It grapples with difficult issues with grace to its characters. Reading it in 2020 gives this alternate history about the rise of fascism and Nazism in America a frightening realness. You can clearly see the parallels of what's portrayed in this book happening in our real politics today. A minority group points out the injustices being done against them, and then the leading group goes and proves the original point while saying that it's all untrue in the first place. It's actaully almost quaint to read it during the coronavirus crisis, because we have bigger things to worry about. But I always focus on the beginning of the 20th century, I remember the horrors that humanity largely brought on itself then. Two World Wars, the Depression, the Great Influenza. We have been spoiled by lesser threats for the past 70 years or so (terrible things are always happening, but not on this scale).

I loved Mr. Roth, the dad. He is everything I am and everything I aspire to stay with his steadfastness. Don't give in, Mr. Roth. You're a good man.

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